Monday, September 27, 2010

Journey to life

The more observant ones among you may have noticed that today I have changed the name of this blog. The address remains the same, it cannot be changed, so there shouldn't be any problems in finding it. Please let me know if you do experience any problems though. Those of you who are followers may want to change the name in your follower list, but I think that's easy.

When I started this blog my intention was to write about my art work as a silver smith. But then the need to put out information about Sigve came up, and the blog took a very different direction. So all this time I have felt that the name and the contents did not add up at all, but as a computer challenged person, I had no idea what to do about it. I have however been convinced that there had to be a way to change the name, and voilá, seek and ye shall find. And of course it was very easy.

I will keep posting here, but not every day. Sigve still has a long way to go to full recovery, but mainly it's a matter of regaining his appetite, and exercising to build up his physique. We've been told that this process may take up to 1 year, and not to force it. So many of our days are filled with cooking, eating, relaxing and exercising. Not much to write about, and there's a limit to how interesting I can make it sound.
For the time being we also go to Stord twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays, for blood tests and check-ups.

I will continue to link up to Facebook whenever I post here. Those of you who are not on Facebook (and why aren't you??) will just have to check in here from time to time.

And again, some of the more observant ones among you may have noticed that I also have another blog, A picture in time, where I post more of my photographs. I have an  archive of more than 11000 pictures, and I keep taking them, so no wonder my laptop is on the verge of a breakdown. I have always enjoyed taking pictures, but lately, as I have been unable to work in my studio, I have been working on taking photography to the next level. I find that I enjoy it so much that I will continue to pursue it, along with silver smithing. I also see the other blog as the obvious place for jewelry pictures. 

On our walk today we went by a very rocky beach, and I spotted this puddle shaped like a heart ♥
Too cute :-)

Today I am grateful for:
*Finding out that I can acquire some computer skills, after all
*The satisfaction of arts, crafts and self development
*The chance to go on a photo safari at Stord tomorrow while Sigve is in for his check-up

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day +44 already

We've been home for 2 days, and everything is going well. Today was Sigve's first check-up appointment at Stord Hospital, and we were there at 9 am, dreadfully early for us, as many of you will know. 

Stord Hospital has carried out check-ups on other stem cell transplantees before, but obviously not very often, so the nurse had to read up on the procedure for drawing blood and administering fluids through Hicky. We had a lot of information with us from Haukeland Hospital for them. 

It took 2 hours from we got there until the fluids could start dripping in, and as there was an addition of potassium and magnesium, it had to go in over 4 hours. So Sigve got his own room in a medical ward, a room that's set aside for only him, to be used for a few hours twice a week for at least a month.  Pretty good service. But hopefully it won't take that long every time. 

I went shopping, well, it turned out to be mostly window shopping, and had lunch by myself at a mall café. Next time I have to be better prepared. I'll check out places for walks and bring my camera, and for rainy days I'll bring my laptop. 

Around 7 pm tonight it looked like there would be a nice sunset, so Sigve put on a snow suit; no, no snow yet, but it was cold, and very windy, and he gets a lot more chilly than he used to. And as he has no hair, he loses body heat through his head, so therefore the hat, which he has never ever worn before. At home he sits under an electric blanket to keep warm. There are a lot of firsts now-a-days. 

Anyway, we left it a few minutes too late, so the sun was almost gone when we got to Hiskjo, a good place for watching sunsets. But we had a nice walk, in uneven terrain, which is good practice for balance and breath. The forecast for tomorrow is good too, so we'll have another go then, a little earlier.

Today I am grateful for:
*Check-ups at Stord, and not having  to drive to Bergen twice a week
*That even though Sigve gets tired fast, his fitness level is increasing steadily, as does hit appetite
*The beauty of nature, right outside our door

Thursday, September 23, 2010

We're home and all is well!

As some of you have noticed, I skipped blogging yesterday. 
I fell asleep with my fingers on the keys...
Anyway, today's post will be really short, 
as the main message is short and sweet:


These fireworks were sent to me today by Birgit :-)

Today I am grateful for:
*All you wonderful people who have been following us on this journey, and will keep doing it. You have lifted us up, and cheered us on, prayed and sent positive thoughts and energy. For this we are forever grateful! 
*All being well so far
*Getting to sleep in my own bed tonight

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall feelings

Every morning I go down to the restaurant and bring up breakfast for us both. The reason why we eat in our room is that Sigve is not supposed to be among and close to a lot of people, especially people who are likely to be sick, without wearing a face mask. And it's hard to eat with one of those on.

On my way back from walking Sigve over to the hospital this morning, I did an extra round and got some pictures in the hospital grounds. Many of the old buildings are still in use, and they are standing side by side with new buildings. Very different styles and architecture, but most of them blend in well, or give interesting contrasts.

The high humidity from the amounts of rain we've had has provided excellent conditions for fungi in the lawns. I don't know if they're really a nuisance, but they look kind of nice.

Some of the huge old trees have been kept, and are protected.

Little short cut paths look nice and break up the monotony of asphalt roads.

Many signs of autumn are showing now. Some leaves have turned brown and left the trees, but most of the foliage is still green. These berries have a nice fall color though.

This afternoon Brita came in to pick us up, and we spent the evening with her and Ketil again. As it very likely is our last evening here, it was nice to be there and share a meal with them.

Sigve is going in for blood tests in the morning, and those results will decide if we get to go home tomorrow. Exciting!

Today I am grateful for:
*The beautiful day it turned out to be
*That crisp freshness in the air
*The good feeling I've had all day

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Brita's crispy flat bread

When Sigve was done at the hospital at around 1 pm today, Ketil and Helge picked us up, and we all spent another very nice day together. We are really pleased that Janet and Helge were able to come up and spend the weekend with the rest of us. Good friends are the best!

Brita has this recipe for a crispy flat bread that she bakes on a regular basis. It's absolutely full of healthy fibers and other natural goodness, plus it tastes amazingly good. We have the recipe too, and have baked it from time to time.

They served it to us yesterday, and Sigve discovered that it tasted really good to him now, and he ate several pieces. So Brita whipped up a new batch this morning, and we got to take a big tin with us :-) Isn't that so generous?

Here's another picture of the gang, and no one's looking tired!

Today I am grateful for:
*Food that Sigve finds appetizing
*The lovely music I'm listening to right now
*Spending time with good friends. Can never give enough thanks for that!

Friends for life

Like I mentioned in yesterday's post, Sigve had the day "off" today. So Ketil came and picked us up after we had a late breakfast, and we spent a beautiful, relaxed day with some of our oldest and dearest friends. Here are Sigve, Janet, Brita, Ketil and Helge.

The kitchen crew in action.

Dinner was an oven dish with salmon and vegetables, sooo good. Sigve's appetite reached new heights today. Home made food is certainly a lot more appetizing than hospital/hotel food, so he ate very well. When this gang get together, we have long meals, and eat well. The social element of being many around the table is also an appetite booster.

Brita, Janet and I went shopping for a couple of hours, and left the men to themselves. The shopping experience is also more fun when shared.

Tomorrow morning we have to be at the hospital at 9 am again for blood tests, and probably a fluid and mineral refill. And afterwards we go back to spend more time with our friends.

Today I am grateful for:
*Sigve's increasing progress and appetite
*The support from good friends
*A day in completely non hospital surroundings.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Saturday is a day off

This picture is one of the decorations in the room where Sigve has his check-ups, blood tests and refills at the hospital these days. I think it's really nice and something that I may use as inspiration for something else at some point.

We have reached day +37, and we were just discussing how fast time has passed. That means it's 37 days since the transplant, and Sigve was admitted 8 days before, so it's 45 days in hospital so far.

At the check-up today, this coming Tuesday was indicated as the discharge day. Monday will be used for finishing paper work and an information appointment with a nurse, to get all the necessary information for the first weeks at home.

But before that we're spending the weekend with very good friends. Janet and Helge came up from Stavanger this evening, and they and Brita and Ketil popped in here for a visit this evening. Tomorrow morning one of them are coming to pick us up, and we're all getting together at Brita and Ketil's house. Sigve has the day "off" from his hospital check-ups, so we have the whole day at our disposal. We're looking forward to a relaxing day with chatting and catching up.

Today I am grateful for:
*Seeing the end of the hospital stay
*That after all the hospital stay has been relatively short and painless
*That both of us have been able to keep up our optimism throughout it

A day out in the tunnel

Breakfast these days consist of a slice of bread
and a bowl of cornflakes for Sigve.
He actually eats more than I do in the morning,
I settle for a couple of eggs.

Since today was a really, really wet day,
we took off through the tunnel to the hospital.

It was busy there, so obviously many others had the same idea.

Some had their own means of transportation,
either automatic,

or self powered.

Some got a ride,

and some had to do it the hard way :-)
(The reason why some of these pictures are blurry
is to give an illusion of speed :-))

There are places to stop and rest if needed.

But there is nowhere to hide -
you can even look around corners.

There are intersections,
and plenty of opportunities to take the wrong turn,
if you don't pay attention.

Sometimes I wonder what all the pipes are for,

and where they go,

or in some cases, don't go.

The tunnel provides extra storage space.
Some things seem to be just waiting
to go wherever it is these things go to,

and some must be waiting
for the opportunity to fulfill their purpose.

Do you think these are the result of two hangers
having been left on a rack by themselves?

I wonder if anyone ever decide to spend the night here,
maybe after working a late shift on a rainy night?
Or maybe there's a whole community living here in secret?

Almost at our destination.
The tunnel standard varies a lot.
It gets better the closer you get to hospital.

Escalators take us up the last two floors.

Having arrived in the room that is reserved for
stem cell transplantee check-ups,
Sigve gets to sink down in a chair that leans back,
almost to a horizontal position.
The nurse, who knows him by now,
has a blanket ready at hand for him.

By the way, this next one is news to me. This word literally means "bed rescue central". Is it a new field in medicine? Is it where someone shouts "Code Red over here", and someone else rushes over to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on a bed that's about to collapse?

Back outside our room the rain was still pouring down,

so my little hot water kettle came in handy - again.

I had a coffee and watched some TV
until it was time to go back and meet Sigve.

Today I am grateful for:
*A warm, dry tunnel in rainy weather
*Having found blogland
*Spending the weekend with good friends

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rain + Sunshine = Rainbows!

Every morning after Sigve's shower, we undress, disinfect and redress Hicky's exit hole. That means putting a fresh bandage over the hole and the first couple of centimeters of the tube. The "butterfly" below is just a tape to strap down the tube so it doesn't get pulled at. I don't think it can actually be pulled out, because of the way it is inserted, but some find it uncomfortable to feel the pull, so it's secured this way.

Today was an unstable day, weather wise. The sun was out, then it rained, and then the sun was out again. And then it rained while the sun was out. But we managed to get out for walks in between the showers, and the air was really refreshing.

Of course rain and sun will provide a rainbow, and this one was so strong and beautiful.

In addition to walking back and forth to the hospital, we were out both at midday, and in the evening. Sigve does get tired, so we don't walk very fast, but he has improved a lot during this last week. The doctor who saw him this morning said that he'll have to be patient. It may take up to 1 year to get back to his former physical condition.

This is the Ulrikken mountain, one of the 7 mountains that surround Bergen. You can get to the top by cable car; some of the support masts can be seen in the lower right part of the picture. We can see the mountain top from our hotel window. It's been covered in low clouds or fog for a couple of days, but today it was visible again.

On our way we pass by a small stone church. I tried to get the same views in both daylight and at night when it's lit up by flood lights.

The streets around here are small, but quite busy. It's both a residential and a hospital area. Just beyond the trees is the local grocery store, where we can get most of what we need.

I decided to take the car out of the parking lot yesterday, and park it in Brita and Ketil's yard. This parking lot has to be the most expensive one in all of Norway. Someone is preying on the fact that people need to park at the hospital. I had the car there from Thursday to Tuesday, 5 days, and it cost me NOK 1050/USD 175. That's long term parking. You have to pay NOK 30/USD 5 for one hour, and if you pass over to 1 hour 4 minutes, you have to pay for 2 full hours!
I was hoping that since I am required to be here, I would get a free parking pass, but no such thing. I have to pay, and then apply for a refund, which I may not get. So I'm not taking the chance.

Today I am grateful for:
*Rainbows and sunshine
*Friends with yard space for an extra car
*Sigve's appetite, which keeps increasing and getting more diverse

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